On a cold December morning in 2007, Michael Clemons donned a white beard, red suit and black boots and went to an orphanage in Tokyo to hand out Christmas gifts.

“Prior to that visit, I’d never thought about orphans,” says Clemons, who hails from California. “But I couldn’t help but notice that most of the kids were of mixed heritage. I hoped that was not the reason they were in the home.”

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.